In England and Wales we have a world renowned network of footpaths which everyone has the right to walk on. These paths are known as “public rights of way”. We also have the right, in certain places, to walk off these paths, across privately owned land. This is known as “open access”. Open access gives you the chance to walk freely, explore wild, open landscapes and find your own way.
The England Coast Path, due to be completed in 2020, is giving us a right of access to many areas between the path and the sea. This area is known as the coastal margin and allows people to explore dunes, cliff slopes and beaches, right up to the water’s edge.
This guide gives you information to make the most of these rights and explore open access land near you, so have a read, grab a map and go walking! You can also download our handy, mobile friendly guide, to ensure you have all this information in your pocket when out walking.
Scotland has different open access rights to England and Wales, find out more about your rights in Scotland here.
Find out where you can walk, and how you can spot this on a map, as well as on the ground when out and about.
Where can you stray from the beaten track, wander wherever you want and find your own path through the wilderness?
If you’re not sure about whether you can walk somewhere or what activities you can do there, here's how to get in touch.
Open access land is designated for walking and outdoor recreation on foot. Take a look at the activities permitted.
Always stick to the Countryside Code so that you can enjoy, respect and protect the countryside.
We are campaigning for improved access rights in England. Find out more about the campaign and take action today.